What’s next for the Obamas? That’s one big question on the minds of likely millions of people not only in the USA, but around the world.
Might they build some kind of media company? This is something that was rumored in December, as the now former President Obama found himself having to address questions about his post-presidential life. Those rumors were never confirmed however, leading many to speculate what kind of media company he and Michelle Obama might be thinking of building – whether partnering up with a wide-reaching platform like Netflix, or something that’s entirely independent and exists online, or something else.
The rumors were bolstered by Obama himself, in a variety of contexts, sharing his views on the problematic ways that news is distributed and consumed today. During a number of interviews, press conferences and speeches he gave during his last month in office, he criticized what he described as “social media bubbles” that have helped degrade our democracy, as well as the dangers of “fake news,” and more.
“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions,” he said in his farewell speech in Chicago on January 10. “The rise of naked partisanship, and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste — all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable.”
As he continued to hammer on these points from once interview/conference/speech to the next, it seemed to some that his post-POTUS life would indeed involve working towards tackling these items that he sees as problems via some kind of non-partisan media network.
Again, nothing of the sort has ever been confirmed.
The only thing that we can confirm at this point is that they plan to be involved in a number of different projects, as Barack and Michelle shared in a final goodbye video published on the Obama Foundation YouTube page today. Obama used President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day to unveil one of those projects – the launch of Obama.org, a website for what he calls his “Presidential Center,” which will be based on the South Side of Chicago, but will take on projects globally.
Still somewhat vague as to what this will become, calling it a “living, working center for citizenship,” the Obamas strongly encourage the contribution of ideas from everyone who watches the video, on what you want this “Presidential Center” project to become.
“We want you to tell us what we should be thinking about as we get to work,” Michelle Obama says in the video.
The Obama.org website is still mostly without much content, given that it’s just been launched; currently, you’ll find a timeline of Obama’s presidential years, photo galleries, sections on Obama’s close relationship with Joe Biden, and another on Michelle Obama specifically.
As for the immediate future, per the video, the Obamas intend to take a vacation and “get some sleep, take some time to be with […] family, and just be still for a bit,” as Michelle Obama says; and after that, they add that the work on building this first post-POTUS project will begin.
By the way, it’s worth mentioning that Malia Obama will be interning for Harvey Weinstein after they return from vacation, starting next month. That news was announced earlier today (read about it here).
Watch Barack and Michelle Obama in their “What’s Next from Barack and Michelle Obama” video below: